Microsoft Office 2010 for PCs On Sale Now
Right on schedule, Microsoft released Office 2010 today in three flavors that range in price from $149 up to $499. Boxed versions are now available at more than 35,000 retail stores including Best Buy, and many new PCs will ship with at least a trial version of the new productivity suite.
More than 100 million PCs with Office 2010 preloaded on the system will be shipped over the next year. To speed adoption of the new office suite, Microsoft partnered with retailers to allow customers to purchase a Product Key Card to activate a preloaded version of Office 2010 on the spot.
Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's Business Division, said in a statement, "For the first time, people can purchase a Product Key Card at retail to activate Office 2010 preloaded on new PCs. For those who want to download Office 2010 direct from Office.com for an existing PC, the new Click-to-Run technology will have them up and running in a matter of minutes."
All versions include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. For those who don't use Outlook, Microsoft's integrated email program, the $149 Home and Student Edition is the least costly alternative. Adding Outlook bumps the price to $279 for Office Home and Business versions. At the top of the line is Office Professional that adds Access for database management and Publisher for easy layout design tools.
Office 2010 users will also gain access to the new Web Apps, an online version of the office suite. Office documents can be shared between a users' computer and Microsoft's online server, called Windows Live Sky Drive, making documents accessible from any Internet connection. Office Web Apps requires a Hotmail , MSN or Windows Live account. The online versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel do not have all of the features found in the installed versions, but all documents can be created, edited and easily shared.
If you think Web Apps sound a lot like Google Docs, you're right. The difference is that no conversion is necessary between the desktop and online versions of Microsoft Office documents, while Google Docs converts online documents to Office formats and often loses formatting in the process.
A free trial of each version is available for download from the Microsoft Office 2010 site through October of this year. At the end of 60 days, trial users will be required to purchase the product for continued use. With purchase, the product key to unlock the program can be used for up to three computers.
A mobile version is also available from Windows Phone Marketplace for phones running Windows Mobile 6.5.
From a survey of Office 2010 beta users, Microsoft found that 75 percent say they plan to buy Office 2010 within six months. The Office 2010 beta program had more than 9 million downloads — more than six times the size of the 2007 Microsoft Office beta program.
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